When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge
Police officer Jessica Villareal has always put much of herself into her job. First it was her way to connect with the memory of her father who died in the line of duty, then it was because she believed in what she did, and finally because it was the only thing she had left. When she was much younger she had gotten pregnant and then married to the wrong man. Her daughter, who never forgave her for the divorce, also became a mother at a young age and went to go live with her father. Their relationship is extremely chilly, and Jessica rarely sees her grandson.
In contrast to Jessica’s family, Lindy is incredibly close with her Iraqi war veteran father Ray. He homeschools and she is an intelligent, well-read girl. Except he clearly has some measure of post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as a physical injury from the war and is unable to find work. Jennie’s mother turned into a meth head while Ray was in Iraq, so they had to leave her. Now they live in the woods outside of Portland, very near to where Jessica lives and works.
When Lindy is spotted in the woods by a couple of bird watchers, it is feared that she may be in the clutches of a child molester supposed to be in the area. Jessica and her colleagues are called in to look for her. When Lindy and Ray are discovered, the decision is made to put Lindy in foster care, separating her from her father. This is a decision with which Jessica vehemently disagrees, and she must choose between her job and her conscience.
This book was so beautifully written. Jessica and Lindy, in particular, were lovely, well-drawn characters. The complexity of the decision as to whether or not Lindy should be allowed to stay with Ray was incredibly interesting as well. I read this when my husband was sick, I was slightly less sick, and my baby was fussy all day. Normally this could be a recipe for disaster with a book, but “When She Flew” completely captivated me and I actually ended up finishing the book in under 24 hours. Well-written and interesting is very hard to beat!
I’m definitely going to be reading more of Jennie Shortridge’s work.